Separation of your chemicals requires distillation columns that are expertly designed to achieve separation without added expense. Designers must size equipment correctly for your process to be successful. We have over 20 years of proven industrial column design & fabrication experience. Our engineers are experts in sizing, mechanical design, system modeling, and practical design for manufacturing environments.
EPIC Systems combines design, engineering, fabrication and integration to a single point of turn key project responsibility. We take your separation technology and use our proven engineering methods to model it for separation feasibility at desired production rates.
Case Studies of Proven Industrial Distillation Columns
A modular distillation skid design allowed safe and timely off-site construction of a pilot-scale distillation skid. The pilot plant is testing an experimental new technology for CO2 removal from power plant flue (or exhaust) gas. CO2 was removed from flue gas in a two-step distillation process with solvent reclamation. Read the full CO2 Sequestration from Coal Fired Flue Gas case study…
Key Features: Modular skid weighing 39,000 lbs and standing 51 feet tall, dual packed distillation units, DeltaV DCS, Class 1, Div 1
A two-part design was developed for an ethanol extraction system that needed to fit into a small space as part of EPIC’s turnkey responsibility process. Overall project timeline shortened due to on-site upgrades and skid fabrication progressing in tandem. The finished “plug and play” skid was delivered as two separate framed pieces to the client site and successfully navigated to the installation spot. Continue to the Innovative Distillation Skid Design case study…
Key Features: Two distillation units, reflux loops, hot oil system, heat exchanger, hydrotesting, FEA analysis, vacuum pump system to lower required energy inputs.Read Full Case Study
What Do I need to Know to Get Column Pricing?
You don’t need to know anything to contact us and start working with one of our distillation experts.
However, you will need to know some information about the process objectives you are trying to achieve before you can get accurate pricing or start column design. Basic information usually consists of:
- Properties of your distillation feed, including:
- Feed rate and temperature
- Materials of Construction
- The desired heating and cooling mediums
- The operating temperature range you wish to achieve during heating, separation and cooling
- Your target operating pressure range during heating, separation and cooling
- Desired end product specifications
- Chemical composition
- Purity requirements
- Recycle and waste stream properties, including:
- Acceptable stream composition?
- Will further processing be required?
Don’t know all of this yet? That’s okay. Just contact us and tell us what you do know and we can help you through the rest.
- Distillation Tower for Alternative EnergyEPIC helped Akermin reach a pilot plant size for their distillation system that was suitable in budget and technical capability. Using stainless steel tubing was suggested by EPIC's fabrication team, expert distillation column manufacturers.
- EPIC Systems combines the design, engineering, fabrication and integration to a single point of project responsibility. We are experienced in taking your distillation technology and applying our expertise in column sizing, mechanical design and process manufacturing. Learn more about EPIC’s approach to detailed design engineering…
- Dual Distillation Skid DesignA two-part design was developed for an ethanol extraction system that needed to fit in a small space. The overall project timeline was shortened due to on-site upgrades happening in parallel with skid fabrication.
View more distillation systems and plants in our photo gallery
Column Cost Spec Sheet
This planning guide covers the areas that drive costs on a distillation columns design project. To get pricing, you will need an engineering or column design firm to help you specify the areas outlined in this guide, include:
- Process operating parameters
- Key feed composition properties
- Instrumentation selection
- Additional processing scope
- And more
Also included is a guide to distillation column design factors, such as flood ratio, jet flood, reflux ratio, etc.
Download the full cost planner below. An experienced distillation column designer can help you fill out the planner and determine project scope. Please contact EPIC 314-845-0077 to talk to one of our distillation experts.Print PDF Version
Below are some things to double-check when you get a preliminary model of your distillation column:
1. Have you selected the right type of distillation system for your process? Consider the number of chemicals you need to separate and how many stages this will require. A fractionating column is appropriate for separating several components in one column. A continuous distillation system maintains a steady state and is usually used to separate one chemical of interest. Other types of distillation include: steam distillation, vacuum, zone, reactive distillation, catalytic, azeotropic distillation, prevaporation, flash, freeze and extraction distillation. Have you selected the system type that is most appropriate for your separation goals?
2. Did you use the correct activity coefficients when determining volatility? If you are estimating this yourself, it is always a good idea to double-check with some outside sources. Calculating your coefficients correctly is critical.
3. Does the pressure or vacuum you selected allow an appropriate temperature difference between the distillation process and the utility processes that must occur within the distillation column? Cooling water, steam supply, hot oil systems, these will all have a bearing on your column operations. Atmospheric or pressure operation of a column is usually less expensive, but vacuum distillation can be more energy efficient.
4. Is your process heat sensitive? If the answer is yes, go back and verify your pressure requirements. You may have to operate at a lower pressure to avoid discoloration, fouling or decomposition.
5. Is your reflux ratio approximately 1.2 times the minimum reflux ratio? If yes, you have probably selected the optimal number of stages and the correct feed location. If no, consider if the trade-off between utility usage and the number of stages is optimal.
6. Do you have an appropriate superficial vapor velocity selected? This has a large bearing on the distillation column design for diameter and width
7. Are your trays spaced correctly? Did you account for flooding, weeping, and poor distribution in your distillation column design? Getting liquid to distribute correctly within the column can be difficult and will affect the purity of your distillation.
8. Did you select a packing size appropriate to the column diameter? Smaller diameters can use smaller packing sizes. Packing has an impact on HETP and pressure drops.
9. Does your column height include a sump volume that provides approximately 2-3 minutes holdup at 50% level, based on internal liquid flow from the bottom tray?
10. Do you have vapor space of two column diameters, or two feet (max), at each liquid/vapor distribution point and above the top tray? The last two items both affect distillation column size requirements and can contribute to less than optimal separation if done improperly.
Distillation Column Design Checklist
The checklist to the right is a basic tool you can use to vet your column design and make sure it is accurate. Walk through the questions with your column design vendor or in-house staff and make sure these major areas correctly addressed to ensure a solid design.
Distillation column design is an iterative process. If you find a hole in the plan on the first review, revisit the design assumptions, operating parameters and re-run the model. Design decisions are usually based around trade-offs, so it’s always a good idea to re-run through this checklist to make sure you haven’t accidentally compromised a basic operating condition.
For a more detailed explanation of distillation column design, checkout the download below:
A Proven Approach to Distillation Column Design
EPIC Modular Process Systems guides your systems from initial concept to complete startup through all phases of:
- Industrial Fractionating System Design
- Simulation software is used to iterate a proposed separation strategy
- Mass and energy balances are calculated accurately
- Physical plant design is completed using 3-D CAD software.
- Equipment Specification and Procurement
- Detailed P&IDs are developed for the industrial fractionating system
- Equipment and instrumentation is specified and compared across several vendors
- Equipment is ordered in congruence with project timeline and equipment lead time
- Process Automation
- EPIC’s controls engineers design a robust and intuitive control system strategy to automate the system
- System programming and electrical wiring is completed in parallel with equipment assembly and fabrication
- Distillation System Fabrication
- Column fabrication happens inside EPIC’s state-of-the-art machine shop
- Quality assurance checks are performed throughout the fabrication and assembly process
- Complete system is fully tested per ASME requirements
- Plant Construction Management
- EPIC oversees and actively manages site civil and facilities engineering
- Site civil and facility modifications occur in parallel with distillation tower fabrication in the EPIC fabrication plant
- Onsite System Installation
- Completed modules are insured, packaged, and shipped to our client’s manufacturing sites where installation is supervised by EPIC’s experienced project managers
- System Start-Up and Support
- EPIC’s engineers provide startup coverage until the distillation plant is fully functional.
We strive to take the burdens of project management from our clients, regardless of the industry, to apply innovative technology and dedicated project oversight.
Contact EPIC Modular Process Systems to learn more or to discuss how we can help you meet your manufacturing objectives with a custom fractional column design.
Key Advantages Provided by EPIC on Distillation Projects
Our experienced control & mechanical engineering teams will design, manage and integrate the proper instrumentation and controls for each fractionating column. Our skilled manufacturing crew will utilize proven designs to fabricate and then test modular skids that will minimize installation time and condense space. We are an experienced distillation column manufacturer, with in-house ASPEN Plus & HYSYS modeling, fabrication and controls integration capabilities.
- Flexibility of Equipment Integration
One size does not fit all, and our modular fractionation columns are integrated with any equipment or existing application. We build a wide variety of reliable resources for the best equipment solution, regardless of vendor, and work with you or other engineering and fabrication companies on any stage of your project. We utilize our proprietary modular process approach to integrate your modular distillation system design faster, with the elimination of plant shut downs through the use of our parallel construction techniques
- Proven Engineering During The Design Phase
Integrating the proper equipment and distillation column design should be carefully reviewed by skilled process engineers before building a full scale plant. Cost, chemical interactions and equipment needs change as larger output is required. Critical factors must be determined during the design phase, such as; boiling point elevation, surface tension, solubility, maximum achievable concentration
- Advantages to Modular Design
Our modular fabrication approach to fractionation column has many advantages, including; reduced costs, higher quality fabrication, faster time to market, improved safety, less resource requirements, flexibility. To learn specifically how modular fabrication achieves these benefits, please visit our Advantages of Modular Fabrication page.Reduced cost